“Uncle, why are you a Christian?” asked the 5 years old daughter of an old friend a few weeks ago when she was brought to my clinic for one of her booster shot. I have thought often about the answer to that innocent question since then. I could not remember how I have answered her. She must have been satisfied because she continued to admire a “Hello Kitty” sticker I have given her. The question stuck in my mind. I could not forget it. It was one of these questions that demand an answer. Yes, why am I a Christian? What is Christianity to me?
I guess I could start at Genesis and explained about the Original Sin of Adam and Eve that caused the break in fellowship with God. Or I could discuss the Pauline theology of penal-substitution of Christ’s death on the cross. Another approach I could take is to look at the covenant theology of God. Yes, I could start with these. However, these will explain who a Christian is but not why I am a Christian. And what being a Christian means to me.
I am a Christian because I am in a living relationship with God
. I have not seen God but I have a pretty good idea of who He is by the portrait of Jesus Christ as given in the Gospels. However, it is not just an idea of God I have but a relationship. God is as real to me as my wife. My relationship with God is as real as my relationship with my wife. Sometimes it boggles my mind to think that the Almighty God who created the heavens and earth knows about me, is interested in my daily life and has a living relationship with me. He even calls me son. We talk together. In my prayers and solitude, I can sense His presence. I hear what He tells me through the Bible, other people, circumstances, dreams, visions and mostly through a still small voice in my soul. I know I often disappoint Him and grieve Him. Yet, I also know of His unfailing love for me. In this living relationship, He wants me to be me. He accept me totally, faults and all.
I am a Christian because it makes me feel wonderfully more alive
. I do not mean that those who are not Christians are not alive. What I meant was being a Christian makes me more alive because my life has a purpose. I am here because I was meant to be here. I was not here by accident. I am not here because I am working out my karma. Neither am I here because my mother married my father and they wanted to have a child. I am here because there is a greater purpose. I am here because I have a role to play in this greater purpose. This role is part of a greater plan. This greater plan is a plan for good. This plan is God’s plan and is for all of eternity. God conceived of this plan and thus of me even before the creation of this universe. I have a role in God’s greater plan. This means that everything I do here on earth, every single moment is significant in God’s plan. No moment is wasted. Thus having a purpose makes me feel more alive. There is a reason for my being alive. I have observed that some of the saddest people are those who do not have a purpose for their lives. In some ways, they are not living, just existing.
I am a Christian because through me, God gives life to others
. I know that I am not a perfect instrument. I have so many flaws and am so self-centred. Yet I have been in numerous occasions when God used me to help others; sometimes to give spiritual insight through my conversation, teaching and writings; sometimes to extend physical help through my medical work and community projects; at other times to bring others into a living relationship with Him. I am often amazed myself. Did I really do that? That’s so unlike me. Being a Christian is life-giving to oneself, others and creation.
So next time someone asks me why I am a Christian, I shall answer that I am a Christian because it makes me more alive in a living and life-giving relationship with God
. Hmm. Okay. Next time if another 5 years old ask me why I am a Christian, I shall answer, “Jesus loves me this I know…”
Soli Deo Gloria